Coming off yet another dismal season, the Cleveland Browns again are in position to add quality talent and depth personnel within a roster needing difference makers.
With questions surrounding the quarterback, running back, wide receiver and offensive tackle positions on the offensive side of the ball, the possibilities are nearly endless.
Throughout the off-season theOBR will tackle inbox questions from OBR subscribers and visitors alike. Rather than some short answer, this column will discuss in depth the facts and opinions.
Q: The fans keep hearing on local radio, national media and others in print that the Browns have decided to trade up in the draft to select Robert Griffin III in late April. Are the Browns that sold on a quarterback that plays in a spread offense in a conference that plays little defense?
LA: I have heard and read speculation such as you note. But, here is the issue with such speculation – the Browns are not at a time which leads to such a major decision.
The process of slotting and overall evaluation of the collegiate players coming out in the draft is ongoing and the necessary workouts, discussions, etc. have yet to take place.
And, its mid-January, there has been no such discussion between the teams in place to either make such a deal reality.
Q: Colt McCoy continues to get a bad rap from the media about his play. Why does McCoy get the finger pointed in his direction, while the front office failed to add quality talent at wide receiver and the offensive line to help the young quarterback?
Also, does the organization believe McCoy can be the leader Mike Holmgren talked about a short time after selecting McCoy in the draft?
LA: The overall state of the Browns offense, including the lack of difference-makers, viable linemen along the right-side of the offensive line did little to help McCoy improve and mature in his second season. The play at wide receiver for this team is below average and the organization must looked long and hard at quality talent in free agency and the draft, if this offense and team are going to be successful.
Additionally, questionable play-calling, restrictions and decisions made by the head coach only further hampered the offense at times. McCoy should not be excluded when discussing the limited success in execution, as he failed more often than not in seeing and attacking the defense.
The Browns organization has yet to make the ultimate decision on McCoy, but reading between the lines tells me McCoy is on shaky ground in regards to being the anointed starter. The scouts of the Browns have scouted QB's, WR's and linemen to a great degree.
Q: If you had to select one quarterback in this draft, who would the player be? Now, let's say Andrew Luck from Stanford and Robert Griffin III from Baylor are not available, which quarterback would you select?
LA: Your question is actually an interesting one which could play out a couple ways to benefit the Browns, not only at QB, but potentially WR.
I like Ryan Tannehill. He's athletic, poised, a quick study and has the intangibles and make-up you like to see in a QB. I believe his skill-set is as such, he can be a solid or better QB in the WCO.
Q: Do you see the Browns making a play for Griffin III from Baylor? If so, how likely could it be for the Browns to also select his teammate, wide receiver Kendall Wright?
LA: I do know the Browns as well as ¾ of the teams in the league are intrigued with Griffin III. That isn't saying ¾ of the teams will see to secure his services, they won't. But, after Cam Newton's fantastic rookie campaign in Carolina in which he displayed the threat he is, much like Griffin iII as an athlete, a ball-carrier and a QB, all in one nifty package. The difference is Newton is much bigger than Griffin III, this added size and strength help Newton endure the rigors of the NFL.
I can see the Browns testing the waters to gauge the cost of ensuring they could be in position to select the QB. But, the cost is likely to be significant and it's unlikely the organization will trade their second first round draft selection to secure the move.
Kendall Wright is the type of WR/KR general manager Tom Heckert loves to find. Fast, shifty and can play multiple roles, Wright could be the next version of Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson, with a little less speed.
I do know with certainty, the Browns like the Baylor connection.
Q; You're running the Browns draft and the clock is ticking. You have the opportunity to select wide receiver Justin Blackmon, running back Trent Richardson or offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the fourth selection in the draft. Which would you choose in your grand scheme of things?
LA: I'm looking for playmakers, and I also recognize the right-side of the offensive line needs addressed.
I'm cautious on WR's this high in the draft. RB's can be found slightly lower in most draft classes and many non-drafted RB's have proven a great value in the right scheme.
Knowing the right-side of the line is in flux, I have a hard time looking past Kalil of USC. You can select him; pencil him in at RT for the next 10-years. A selection of Kalil basically would ensure the team in having the best set of tackles on one team in the league.
I'd look in this direction due to FA player movement. The Browns cannot afford to come away from FA and the draft without one or two WR's to provide quality flanking the offense.
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